Eli studied like CRAZY for a board exam during January and February and we hardly saw him during those two months. He took his exam on Friday, March 2 (Kenzie's 1st birthday) After his exam, he had a week off so we spent the whole week just playing together as a family! It was heaven! On the evening of his bar exam, we headed to Church Street to eat dinner at Panera Bread and participate in Burlington's monthly Art Walk.
We saw some neat/beautiful items in the art and boutique stores, and had fun as we wandered from store to store. We ended the night by visiting a bulk candy store and eating lots of treats on the way home!
On Saturday, we played at home as a family, Eli went to help a friend paint his house, and then we met our good friends, Brian and Nicole Groves, for lunch to celebrate Eli's birthday (which was the following week). We ate Hibachi style at Koto Japanese Steakhouse and it was super yummy! The kids weren't so sure about the big flame at the beginning but they did enjoy, though with uncertainty, watching our chef cook right in front of them. At the end of the meal, I asked our chef how to say "thank you" in Japanese and he said that he was Chinese. I wish I had known that sooner so that I could speak a little bit in Chinese with him! (emphasis on a LITTLE bit - ha ha! I don't remember much from my few months living in China!)
After lunch, we went to Oakledge Park to let the kids play in the sun that had been hiding from us all week. Tan ran and ran and ran in all the open space, and Eli and I got to chat with our friends as we leisurely walked around the park. After that, we went to my favorite grocery store, Shaw's, and while I shopped, Eli watched closely as Tan rode up and down in the 2 story elevator over and over again.
On Sunday, we went to church and fulfilled all of our church responsibilities for that day (Eli meetings, me teaching Young Women's and conducting the ward choir). That night, we celebrated Kenzie's birthday with friends (more on that here!) by having a Ben and Jerry's ice cream party. MMMM mmmm GOOD!
On Monday we had a lazy morning playing at home (and I played "dress up my cute baby in her new birthday clothes!"). It was just so nice to have Eli around!! We went to a gymnastics place nearby for their open gym time where the kids had a blast running, jumping, balancing, somersaulting, scootering, foam pitting (yep, I made that up!), and climbing. (The lighting was not so great for pictures so they all ended looking better in black and white.) Afterwards, we went to the European Market nearby to buy some Russian Pelminis to make for dinner.
On Tuesday, we had a little photoshoot at home for Kenzie's 1st birthday (pictures later once Eli can find time to edit them!). Following that, we headed up to Bolton (a ski resort 30 mins from us) to eat lunch slopeside and watch the "skier guys" and snowboarders as we ate. The kids had fun playing in the snow at the bottom of the slopes!
That afternoon, the kids had a babysitter while we test drove some minivans. That began our hunt for our new minivan! More about that in a different post! We had a casual dinner with our good friends, the Ellis's, that night.
On Wednesday, we spent the afternoon test driving cars, but this time we took the kiddos. We just took turns driving the cars and watching the kids. Tan and Kenz were entertained for hours by climbing around the inside of our car while we were parked at dealerships. Simple pleasures! Oh and eating lots and lots of snacks! We got salads at Shaw's (my fav grocery store) for dinner, which is something we do probably once a week for either lunch or dinner. Eli and I love a big salad for a meal, and the kids have so many options of things to eat from the salad bar, with Tan's favs being croutons and carrot strips. I helped serve the youth at their mystery dinner activity that night. We ended the night by watching one of our favorite tv shows, Psych. If you haven't seen it, watch it! You'll love it!
On Thursday we drove an hour and a half north to Montreal, Canada for a one night getaway. We walked around the medical school there, McGill University, and I felt like I was walking around Hogwarts! Not that it was magical or anything (that would be awesome!), but it was old and castle-like.
We were crossing the street to go back to our car, when we saw a building that really did look like a castle. So we went to check it out and discovered that it was a hospital! So neat! It was updated inside, but the outside was beautiful and it is right at the base of a big hill in the middle of the city, Mont Royal.
We drove around the hill and saw more neat houses and buildings. We wanted to go to the big park on Mont Royal, but it was cold and icy/slushy all over. So we drove around a cemetery across the street instead. This was the biggest cemetery I have ever seen! There was an entire Ukrainian section, and other nationalities as well, though we didn't look closely at those. There were many big statues, and lots of tombs built into the peak of the hill.
On our way down Mont Royal, we stopped at an overlook and saw how big Montreal is. The kids enjoyed feeding a super fat squirrel.
Eli and I drove around Montreal while the kids napped in the car. We headed back into the heart of downtown and checked into our hotel, the Hyatt Regency. We went to the swimming pool which both kids LOVED! Tan liked floating around on giant flat foam animal-shaped rafts and Kenz splashed up a storm. My favorite part of swimming was just being in the pool room because 2/3 of the walls were windows so it was just a beautiful, relaxing place to be. We explored the sauna and steam room before heading back up to our rooms. We didn't have much time for dinner so we just ate at the mall foodcourt next to our hotel. I hopped in Momo and braved my way through the rain and unknown downtown streets to attend a session at the Montreal LDS temple. The peace I felt the second I stepped into the temple was palpable and calming. I had a wonderful experience there. Eli put the kids to bed all by himself- go Eli!
Eli is standing in the center in a red shirt
On Friday, we ate cereal for breakfast and then Eli went to the temple to do a session. While he was gone, the kids and I walked around downtown. It was sunny and crisp - such a gorgeous day! We walked through Chinatown and then through the Old Quarter where there is a street that makes you feel like you are in Europe, lots of cute shops and restaurants, beautiful government buildings, and a cathedral called Notre Dame.
I checked out of the hotel, Eli picked us up, and we went to the Biodome. It was packed because it was Montreal's school vacation week. But we braved the crowds and enjoyed walking through different habitats: tropical, maple forest, antarctic, a coastal region. Kenzie's favorite animals were the fish and she pointed and called out to them like crazy! She also loved the little penguins that came right up to the glass the she was standing up against.
The leaning tower on the left is the Olympic Tower from the 1976 Olympics. The biodome is the building on the right.
Do you see Tan and Eli through the waterfall?
We didn't know that porcupines sat in trees!
Then we went to the Insectarium and saw lots of (dead) bugs, spiders, and insects. After that we went to the Botanical Gardens and walked through the greenhouses. We ended up in the butterfly room where the butterflies flew all around us and one even landed on my head! Kenz had the little pointer finger out and she was jabbering away about the butterflies the whole time! SO cute! Eli sat down on a bench and fell asleep (the line was moving really slow - like I said before, it was PACKED), and we had to keep moving with the crowd since I had the stroller. I guess that when he woke up like 15 minutes later, one of his classmates was standing in line right next to him. Ha ha! They had a good laugh about it!
This tree is about 3 feet tall and at least 50 years old!
Montreal was fun!
On Saturday, Eli helped run the blood drive at our church and then we test drove cars again. That evening, we got a babysitter and went swing dancing to celebrate his 30th birthday! We had some friends meet us there: Dahle's, Fellows, Groves. Eli and I both love to dance but we don't ever go. We had a blast!
It was such a fun week filled with lots of adventures, time with family and friends, and yummy food!